Personal Conduct



The Academy places great emphasis on class attendance. It is assumed that students who come to Deerfield have a serious purpose and will be conscientious in meeting all obligations. Academic obligations should not be compromised to accommodate medical appointments or family vacations.

If a teacher is detained or not in class, students should wait for 10 minutes past the normal start time of the class, at which point they should report the faculty absence to the Dean of Faculty.

When, for any reason, a student has missed 20% or more of the course meetings during a given term, Deerfield may withhold credit for the course for that term. Such cases will be heard by the Academic Standing Committee.

Co-Curriculars, Meals, School Meetings, and Events

Attendance is taken at numerous times and places outside of class. Co-curriculars, sit-down meals, school meetings, and Academy Events are required for all students, as are other obligations as assigned. From time to time, the faculty may designate required events as an alternative to class time.

Day Students

If a day student must be absent from a required activity, a parent or guardian must notify the Dean of Students Office in advance (no later than 8:30 am in the case of illness).

Attendance Taken

All teachers submit daily reports on student absences online; they report “actual” attendance only and do not assign or excuse APs. Faculty cannot adjust attendance or eliminate Accountability Points—even when there is certainty that the absence will be excused. The Dean of Students Office determines which absences are excused; errors and/or requests for clearance must be submitted to the Class Dean within three school days.

Excused Absences

Medical Excuses

Medical Excuses for Classes, Meals, or Other Required Events

If a student is too sick to go to class, sit-down meal or another activity where attendance is required, he/she needs to be in the Health Center in order to be excused for medical reasons. If a class is missed, the student should inform the teacher that he/she was in the Health Center. If unable to complete or to hand in any graded assignment when medically excused from class, the student should notify the teacher as soon as possible to acknowledge that the assignment will be late and to clarify when the assignment can be completed. Students who miss class or any other required school commitment due to illness may not participate in their co-curricular assignment that day.

Medical Excuses for Co-Curricular Activities

A sick or injured student may be excused from a co-curricular activity by a nurse or the school physician. In such a case, the student is expected to communicate with the coach or the adult in charge of that co-curricular activity. In certain co-curricular activities where the unexpected absence of the student may create a hardship for the group, it is important that the student notify the appropriate adult in a timely fashion. Failure to notify the adult before the beginning of the co-curricular time period may result in invalidation of the medical excuse and the student may receive Accountability Points.

Non-Medical Excuses

Students are permitted to miss a combined total of five class days for college visits, approved Pursuits of Excellence or other commitments approved by the Dean of Students Office.

College Visits

Juniors and seniors are encouraged to schedule college visits during the summer or other school vacation times. The Academy allows seniors to miss class days to visit colleges. Requests require approval from the student’s college advisor and Class Dean; requests should be submitted at least three days in advance through the “College Visit” form on DAinfo.

Pursuit of Excellence

Attendance in class is essential to individual academic success and community health. However, when appropriate opportunities to pursue excellence arise, Deerfield allows students to miss up to five class days a year.

To be eligible to petition for pursuit of excellence, students must:

  • Remain in good academic standing;
  • Maintain solid citizenship, including strong attendance;
  • Demonstrate extraordinary accomplishment in their areas of excellence; and
  • Receive invitations to pursue extraordinary opportunities.

In petitioning, students must establish:

  • Ways an event furthers their development of excellence;
  • What they have done to qualify for the opportunity;
  • That the opportunity has resulted from a rigorous selection process; and
  • That there is no way to engage in the opportunity without missing school.

Interested students should petition by filling out the “Pursuit of Excellence” Form on DAinfo. The form should be completed as soon as an opportunity arises and no later than three days prior to the event; late submissions will result in four APs. The Curriculum Committee, which meets on Mondays, reviews all petitions. The Office of the Academic Dean notifies students of decisions and, when petitions are approved, notifies classroom teachers. Students are expected to make up all missed work without requesting extra help from teachers.

Class Dress

The dress code sets a minimum standard for attire at school functions while providing room for personal expression. Deerfield values inclusivity, yet clothing and accessories sometimes send subtle messages of exclusion; students should take care in these choices. Sheer, revealing, and tightfitting clothing may also send an inappropriate message.

“Class Dress” must be worn by boys and girls in the following contexts:

  • Classes
  • Sit-down meals
  • Traveling as a member of a team or group (unless in uniform)
  • Academy events or functions
  • Occasions designated by the Head of School or the Dean of Students
  • In the academic buildings, including the library, during the academic day—regardless of whether students have finished their academic obligations.

Hats are not to be worn in academic buildings or in the Dining Hall at any time. Appropriate attire should be worn in the Dining Hall during walk-through meals.

Everyone is expected to exercise good habits of personal grooming.

Students whose cultural or faith traditions conflict with Deerfield’s dress code should contact their class deans to identify alternatives.

Deerfield employees are expected to hold students to these guidelines; students are expected to comply when asked to adjust their dress.

Girls Class Dress

Jeans are not permitted. Dresses and skirts must fall within four inches of the center of the kneecap; no bare shoulders or low necklines. When wearing pants, skirts, or shorts, girls must wear—not carry—two visible layers on top, one of which must be a blazer or sweater (not a fleece).

Boys Class Dress

Facial hair is not permitted. No jeans are allowed. Boys must wear a sport-coat, tie, and a collared shirt—tucked in. Ties must be visible.

In the winter term only:

  • Sweaters (not a fleece) may replace a sport coat when worn with a collared dress shirt and a tie.
  • Turtlenecks may replace collared shirts and ties as long as they are worn with sport coats.

Sit-Down Meals and Dining Hall Guidelines

Students should arrive on time.

  • Upon arrival at the Dining Hall, students should wait in the lobby until the four main doors to the dining room are opened.
  • The lunchtime salad bar in the lower lobby is for use by sit-down attendees only.
  • Anyone wishing to use the salad bar must do so before the start of the sit-down meal.
  • Students should be at their tables before the Director of the Dining Hall begins the meal. At this time, all motion in the Dining Hall stops; if not at a table, students should stop and remain still.
  • Attendance for meals is taken immediately after the meal begins; if a student is not present, he/she will be marked absent for the meal.
  • Most tables have one faculty member and nine students, including one (or two) day student(s). If the capacity of the table is exceeded (e.g. guests), a student may be excused to eat at another table in the Dining Room—rather than eating downstairs.

Students should exercise good manners.

  • No one should begin to eat until everyone at the table has been served.
  • No one should eat and talk at the same time.
  • Food should be passed around—not across—the table.
  • Use “please” and “thank you.”
  • Take one serving at a time.
  • Whoever finishes a dish or beverage should offer to replenish it.
  • Students should request permission to leave the table.
  • Students who wish to speak with students at other tables should request permission.
  • Be thoughtful and considerate; conversations at the table should be of general interest.

Students should be dressed appropriately, in class dress.

  • Sweaters and sport coats may not be removed unless the director of the Dining Hall grants permission.
  • Second waiters may remove their sweaters/sport coats when performing waiting duties.

Waiting, Kitchen Duties

All students take turns waiting (or working on the dish crew, etc.) in the Dining Hall at sit-down meals. Students will have a job for several table rotations a year. A rotation lasts approximately three weeks. If, for any reason, your dietary needs or preferences conflict with waiting or kitchen duties, please speak with your table head or the Director of the Dining Hall.

Guidelines for waiters are as follows:

  • First waiters should arrive approximately fifteen minutes before the start of the meal.
  • First waiters are responsible for setting the table and for clearing the soup course.
  • Second waiters are responsible for clearing the table after the main course and dessert.
  • Dessert should be brought to the table only if the main course has been cleared completely.
  • Waiters should pick up salad bowls, glasses and dessert plates at individual places; dinner plates may be passed, individually, around the table to the waiter.
  • Plates should not be scraped at the dining table.
  • If a waiter is not present for any reason, or cannot wait, the next student on the table list is the substitute.

The Parker Room

  • The downstairs dining hall (the Parker Room) is only for people not assigned to an upstairs table.
  • Kitchen chiefs, dish crew, milk crew, and dessert crew may eat in the Parker Room before starting their work assignments.
  • Day students who are not employee children must eat upstairs if they attend dinner.

Possession, Use of Tobacco

Students are not permitted to use or possess tobacco of any kind. If a student violates these rules:

  • The first offense will result in seven hours of work detail and a follow-up with the Health Center to review the health implications of tobacco use and to assess current impact.
  • A second offense will result in seven additional hours of work detail and a Letter of Reprimand.
  • A third offense will be treated as a major school rule violation.

Guests may not use tobacco in any Academy buildings. Deerfield hosts should monitor their guest’s adherence to this rule.

Cell Phone Policy

Students with cell phones are required to provide their numbers to the Academy for the emergency notification system.

Students are required to be present, responsive, and available to others. “Heads down,” or engrossing activities (calls, games, texting) are not permitted while in the presence of others, outside of dormitories, the Greer, and the Koch Café.

All cell phone use in the Dining Hall is prohibited. Use of cell phones during community gatherings (e.g. school meetings, performances, and Academy Events) is also prohibited.

Students must respect requests to remove cell phones from situations where privacy is a concern, particularly locker-rooms and bathrooms, faculty residences, and others’ dorm rooms.

Additionally, it is expected that all students carry their cell phones with them when travelling beyond Old Main Street of Deerfield. Students are asked to provide cell phone numbers on off-campus sign-outs.

Inappropriate use of a cell phone results in a one-day confiscation. Repeated infractions result in longer confiscations.


Student Activities

Taking Advantage

As a community, our emphasis on character and mutual respect makes the concept of “taking advantage of someone” an unacceptable behavior. Opportunistic behaviors that harm others, hinder others’ access to opportunities of their own, or provide an unfair advantage in competitive situations are examples of this type of behavior and are unacceptable.

Fundraising, Sales, and Gambling

The Academy maintains relationships with several not-for-profit organizations and limits on-campus fundraising efforts only to those organizations. Academy resources—including Deerfield’s name, photographs, slogans, logos, websites, and printing/mailing facilities—should not be used to fundraise for other organizations. Only approved clubs and co-curricular groups may conduct sales and fundraise on campus; all fundraising and sales activities require approval of a club/co-curricular advisor and the Dean of Students Office.  Gambling for money is prohibited.

Open Groups

All student clubs and organizations at Deerfield must be open to all students, and each must have open meetings and at least one faculty advisor. Exclusive or secret societies are not permitted. Any student who belongs to an exclusive or secret society will be required to resign from any leadership position at the Academy and may face disciplinary action.

Use of Academy Resources

Intellectual Property

Students must request permission from the Communications Office for any use of Deerfield Academy’s name, logo, seal, photographs, or other official materials.

Locked Doors

Secured external doors (including fire exits) may not be used by a student except during a drill or emergency. Tampering with the locked doors may lead to disciplinary action.


Students who misuse technology resources are subject to disciplinary action. While it is impossible to delineate all the inappropriate uses of computing systems, common sense and respect for the privacy of others are paramount.

Misuse of computers, the school’s network, or other information resources including, but not limited to, anonymous postings, inappropriate use of social networks, apps, and mobile devices, may violate school rules and can constitute a breach of academic integrity. Examples of misuse of technology include but are not restricted to the following:

  • Gaining unauthorized access to any computer or computer system
  • Tampering with any files or data stored on an individual computer or on the network
  • Use of computer or network resources to the extent that it limits others’ access
  • Possession of inappropriate or offensive material
  • Vandalism of computer hardware including theft, damage or disfigurement, and manipulation of computer software, especially when this impedes the academic work of others

Library Use

In fairness to other users and out of respect for the institution, library materials must be recognized as common and vital property of an academic community. Hence, all rules concerning the checking out of circulating materials and limitations on journals, magazines, newspapers, and reference materials must be observed. Any action that unfairly limits access to library resources or any willful defacement or destruction of library materials is a breach of academic integrity.


Purposeful destruction or damage to school property or the property of any individual will not be tolerated. Included in this rule is the expectation that students will respect each other’s personal space as well as their belongings.

Common Rooms and Shared Spaces

Particularly in shared spaces, students should be aware of and receptive to the feelings and needs of others. Some group activities can be isolating or offensive (regardless of intent) and may create an unwelcome or threatening environment. For example, misogynist and racist themes are pervasive in some video games and music. Students should be respectful and accepting of others’ concerns. Requests to adjust behavior or activities in common spaces should be heeded, so that they may be more inclusive to all.

Common Rooms and Dormitory Room Guidelines

Common Rooms and Shared Spaces

Particularly in shared spaces, students should be aware of and receptive to the feelings and needs of others. Some group activities can be isolating or offensive (regardless of intent) and may create an unwelcome or threatening environment. Misogynist and racist themes are pervasive in some video games and music, for example. Students should be respectful and accepting of others’ concerns. Requests to adjust behavior or activities in common spaces should be heeded, so that they may be more inclusive to all.

Dormitory Room Guidelines

  • The following items are not permitted in student rooms: refrigerators, televisions, projectors, offensive posters, slogans or pictures, liquor bottles and/or beer cans, or pets (except fish).
  • Students may have a single computer monitor of 27 inches or less.
  • Furniture provided by the Academy must remain in student rooms; requests for removal may be made to the Dean of Students.
    • Desk chairs are an exception: they may be removed from student rooms if they are replaced with fire-code-compliant alternatives. To request removal of an unused desk chair, contact the Dean of Students Office.
  • Beds may not be dismantled nor may they be elevated on desks and bureaus.
  • Lofts are prohibited.
  • When rooms are unoccupied, all lights should be turned off.